Aust stocks open higher

Local market follows Wall Street gains despite IMF downgrading global growth forecasts.

The Australian stock market opened higher following gains on United States and European bourses despite the IMF downgrading its global economies' growth forecast.

At 1015 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 0.61%, at 4,911.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 0.59%, to 4,895.4 points.

Materials were up across the board.

Rio Tinto lifted 1.21% to $52.67, while BHP Billiton rose 1.52% to $32.09.

Fortescue Metals rose 2.7% to $3.42.

Whitehaven Coal gained 0.46% to $2.20, while Newcrest rose 2.26% to $9.96.

In energy, Santos rose 0.58% to $13.76, Oil Search gained 0.25% to $8.12 and Woodside increased 0.14% to $36.64.

Financial stocks mostly posted gains.

Commonwealth Bank rose 0.51% to $70.50, while ANZ Banking Group lifted 0.84% to $28.90.

National Australia Bank gained 0.41% to $29.54, while Westpac Banking Corporation lost 0.17% to $28.90 as it launched a $750 million debt issue.

In the insurance sector, QBE rose 1.03% to $16.67, Insurance Australia Group increased 0.63% to $5.625 and Suncorp lifted 1.68% to $12.07.

Investment bank Macquarie Group rose 1.91% to $44.34.

The retail sector was mixed.

Wesfarmers gained 0.67% to $39.745 while Woolworths rose 0.6% to $33.43.

Myer lost 0.4% to $2.51 while rival David Jones shed 0.39% to $2.53.

Harvey Norman lost 1.2% to $2.47, while JB Hi-Fi dropped 0.29% to $17.10.

In media, Fairfax Media gained 1.87% to 54.5 cents, while 21st Century Fox shed 1.68% to $32.80.

Ten Network rose 0.88% to 28.75 cents and Southern Cross Media gained 0.34% to $1.455, while Seven West lost 0.48% to $2.08.

Meanwhile, blue chip Telstra added 0.42% to $4.78, while Qantas increased 1.14% to $1.335.

Virgin Australia Holdings was unchanged on 45 cents after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission backed its alliance with Air New Zealand.

Transurban Group Ltd added 0.44% to $6.83 after announcing a 4.7% increase in statutory toll revenue to $801.2 million on the back of strong traffic growth across its portfolio.

IG analyst Evan Lucas said volume was likely to be light again during the session.

"All of the past seven trading sessions have seen the market move through 1.3%, plus or minus," he said. 

"Of the last 12, ten have moved through this range, with volumes still light the possibility of this happening again today is high."

The International Monetary Fund trimmed its world economic growth expectations for 2013 to 3.1% from the April forecast of 3.3%.

In economic news on Wednesday, Reserve Bank of Australia assistant governor (financial markets) Guy Debelle is scheduled to attend the launch of the Funding Australia's Future Project hosted by the Australian Centre for Financial Studies.

The Westpac/Melbourne Institute Survey of Consumer Sentiment is due out.

In equities news, Nufarm chairman Donald McGauchie is scheduled to speak at an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia lunch in Melbourne while Energy Resources of Australia is slated to release its second quarter operations review.

In Australia, the market closed the previous session higher, sparking hopes investors are over their jitters caused by the US flagging a cut to its stimulus program.

The market rose about 1.5%, and recovered all of the heavy losses incurred in the three days after the US Federal Reserve indicated it may soon begin withdrawing stimulus measures.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 72.2 points, or 1.5%, at 4,881.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 68.9 points, or 1.44%, to 4,866.5 points.

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